NEW YORK — J.C. Penney Co. Inc. on Wednesday asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by design firm Hudson + Broad over the Plexiglas LED square used in the retailer’s “Fair and Square” campaign.
Hudson + Broad, based here, filed the suit on April 25 in Manhattan’s U.S. District Court alleging breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. The firm is seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and an additional $20 million in punitive damages. RELATED STORY: Penney's Sued Over 'Fair and Square' Design >>
Hudson + Broad said that by spring, Penney’s had stopped communicating with the firm. Nor did the court receive acknowledgment of the lawsuit from Penney’s. Because Penney’s failed to meet the statutory deadline set by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Clerk for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday filed a certificate of default against J.C. Penney.
Penney’s answered back on Wednesday, asking the court to vacate the certificate of default. Penney’s also entered a motion to have the complaint dismissed by the court.
Hudson + Broad said it will respond vigorously to both motions, adding it is confident of the merits of the case. “We will respond with the appropriate arguments to the court by July 13,” said James Maharg, president of Hudson + Broad. Penney’s has until July 27 to respond to Hudson + Broad before the case goes before a judge.
Maharg said he was asked by Penney’s in December to develop a unique fixture with the promise that the proprietary product, if accepted, would only be ordered from Hudson + Broad and that the concept would not be misappropriated and bid out to other manufacturers. Penney’s approved an initial order of 1,800 units for 700 stores. According to the suit, J.C. Penney’s procurement department on April 3 told Hudson + Broad that the retailer had sourced the custom-designed proprietary fixtures elsewhere. RELATED STORY: Ackman Talks Penney's Strategy on CNBC >>
Asked for comment on the case, a Penney’s spokeswoman said, “We don’t comment on pending litigation.”
In the meantime, Hudson + Broad has taken its message public — on YouTube. In one video, Maharg tells Penney’s chief executive officer Ron Johnson, “Ron, I’m asking you to stand by your mission statement. You said you’re simply going to treat other people the way we want to be treated ourselves.” In another video directed at Penney’s spokeswoman Ellen DeGeneres, Maharg said, “Ellen, you should be aware that we filed a lawsuit against J.C. Penney. Recently you said publicly, as Penney’s spokeswoman, ‘We’re simply going to treat people as we’d like to be treated ourselves, fair and square.’ I’d like to ask you, Ellen, to ask Ron Johnson, is the way J.C. Penney treated Hudson + Broad, fair and square?”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews